Many elementary school teachers are on the lookout for how to teach second grade writing. While there are many traditional ways to do so, teachers are always open to new and effective ideas and ways to instruct students in a more innovative way. Second graders tend to have a lot of energy and imagination, so that is a consideration when trying to teach them a fairly relaxed and sedate activity such as writing. When taught effectively, second graders respond very well to learning about the craft of writing. From the act of storytelling, learning new vocabulary words, practicing proper grammar and learning correct rules of punctuation, learning writing can be a joy for most second graders.
If you’re an educator looking for innovative ways how to teach 2nd grade writing, here are five ideas that could be a fit for your students and your classroom:
1. The “Picture This” game
To play this game, start by scanning or photocopying images of famous works of art. You can also collect photographs of different houses or clip pictures from magazines. Next, ask each student to choose a picture they feel drawn to and write a story about it. If the picture has people in it and you know who they are, explain their relationships to one other to the student. If they choose a house photo, have the students create a descriptive story about where it is and what sort of people might live there. For a more neutral photo, you could ask the student to create a story that is funny, scary or hard to believe, perhaps something that’s already happened or is about to happen in this specific place.
2. Writing letters
Learning how to write letters early in life can teach second graders about how to write as well as how to stay in touch with others. They can learn about writing in a fun and purposeful way. Writing a letter will allow your second graders to practice their penmanship, learn the components and formatting of a letter and also allow them to describe the things that are going on in their lives. The letters can take the form of a general keeping in touch letter, a thank-you note (if they recently received a present from a relative), a letter about a recent family vacation, or a gratitude note to a parent.
3. The surprise me game
For this game, have index cards on hand, and divide the stack into thirds. Hand out the first batch of cards to your students and ask them to write down the name of a place of their choice. It can be a geographical location anywhere in the world, or a local physical setting. It can be literally anywhere the child chooses.
Next, collect the location cards, then hand out the second stack of cards and have the students write down an occupation. For the remaining third stack of cards, ask them to choose and write down an object — any object at all. Once all the cards have been collected, have students one by one select cards from each of the three stacks and then compose short stories using all three elements from the cards they choose.
4. The story of me
The autobiography allows students to write a first-person story about themselves, their family, pets, friends, house, favorite toys, or anything else they wish to share. Have them be as descriptive as possible. Once they are finished, collect the stories, hand them out randomly and have each student read the story they are given out loud. Then have rest of the class try and guess who each story author is. This can be a fun assignment given within the first month of school to help students get to know one another.
5. Future reviewers
Have your students compose a review of the latest movie, TV show or cartoon they have seen, or the latest book they have read. Reviews should discuss plot, characters, how the story turned out and how many “stars” they give it (on a scale of 1 to 5.)
How to teach 2nd grade writing need not be intimidating — or boring. Try out one of these techniques, or create one of your own. Your students will appreciate it, and may even enjoy learning how to write!